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David Hines [userpic]

ammo costs are ridiculous

April 12th, 2009 (10:21 pm)
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I've been insulated from this, as I did a massive bulk ammo purchase last year, but ammunition is getting *ridiculously* scarce and expensive. How ridiculous? At my NRA class, I met a gun dealer who was desperately seeking .380 ACP ammunition. I don't shoot .380 at all, so I didn't know this, but it's apparently become absolutely impossible to get. The cartridge languished for a while, but it's popular again in large part because of Kel-Tec, which came up with the P-3AT, an amazingly tiny carry gun -- literally, you can put it in the pocket of a pair of shorts, and no one will see it at all. Six rounds, polymer frame, extremely light. There are other .380s available, notably Ruger's recent entry to compete with Kel-Tec, the LCP -- and that's a very hot gun at the moment, very difficult to get. And the dealer was sitting on multiple .380s in his shop, which he couldn't sell, because *he had no ammo.* And nobody else did, either. He managed to horse-trade some at the class.

Another guy I met was going crazy because he couldn't find -- I can't believe this -- .22LR. Seriously. It's only the most common and cheapest and dinkiest plinking round out there, but he couldn't find any for sale. Saturday night, on my way home from the class, I stopped by my local Wal-Mart, and they had some that had just come in that day. $18 a brick. (550 rounds, for Remington's Golden Bullet.) EIGHTEEN DOLLARS. FOR A BRICK OF .22LR. If you do not shoot, that is high. I think the last time I bought it, I paid eleven. And noted, "Huh, prices have gone up."

I bought four bricks, which was half of what they had, and sold my classmate one for $20. Apparently, I was very nice. One guy in the class sells ammo at gun shows. He said he's seen bricks of .22LR going for $40. (!!!!) Out of curiosity, I stopped in the same Wal-Mart on the way back from class today. Sold out. The lady behind the counter said they only got one case in (ten bricks), and it sold in less than 24 hours. I just went over and clicked on the various cartridges for sale at Ammoman.com, and he's out of almost everything. Holy crap.

Comments

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 15th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)

It's crazy. And I'm saying this as somebody who "stocked up" with a case of 7.62X39 during the 1994 AWB and Brady Bill...and still has half a case left over from that. I figured this would be more of the same, but the Great Gun and Ammo Rush of 2009 shows no sign of slowing down. (Somewhere I read that, collectively, manufacturers of AR15-type rifles are backordered to the tune of 100,000 units. And the ammunition makers are working three shifts trying to keep up with the demand.)

I've pretty much given up on Wal-Mart and Bass Pro for ammunition (I live in the Kansas City area) because they're perpetually sold almost completely out of handgun ammo; folks are buying it in case lots almost as soon as it comes off the truck. Especially the cheap target loads in the popular pistol calibers. The last time I was at Bass Pro, the sales clerk put out eight 100-round Winchester white-box .38 SPL bulk-packs on the shelf, and they lasted all of a minute and a half; I managed to snag the last one.

Otherwise? If you shoot one of the big .460 or .500 S&W Magnums, .480 Ruger or 5.7X28 FN, Bass Pro has plenty of shells for you. For anything else, good luck.

Rifle ammunition, buckshot and deer slugs are pretty thin on the ground at Wal-Mart as well. I can't remember the last time I saw the 550-round Federal bulk-pack .22s at Wally World, either.

The only .22s my local Wal-Mart has in stock with any regularity are the expensive Mini-Mags and Stingers and suchlike. "At least we can still sell these," one Wal-Mart employee told me the other day. "Until lately, these (Stingers) were gathering dust in the warehouse, because they were so expensive not many people wanted them."

Rumor has it that a lot of those bulk purchases of ammo from Wal-Mart are being resold at gun shows at a hefty markup...

Some of the smaller gunshops do have ammunition in stock, but it tends to be pricey. I've spent much of the past week trying to track down rounds for my new Ruger .44 Special Flattop Blackhawk, and been quoted prices just this side of highway robbery. Would you believe $51.00 for a fifty-round box of Remington 246-grain .44 Special LRNs? (The cheapest loads in that caliber I was able to find - which I promptly purchased - were a couple boxes of MagTech 240-grain CAS loads and a couple boxes of Blazer 200-grain Gold Dot HPs, for about $33 each.)

I'm glad I already have several hundred rounds' worth of shells for each of my handguns (and four bulk packs of .22s) already stashed in the safe...but I'm almost afraid to shoot any of it for fear I won't be able to easily replace it.

I've also seen a number of folks leaving Wal-Mart and local grocery stores with entire shopping carts full of canned goods and bulk foods like beans and rice lately. You'd think the whole country was turning survivalist...which might not be such a bad thing, come to think of it.

--Wes S.



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